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Kingdom of Qin
Lü Buwei (Ryofui)
Lü Buwei 呂不韋 (d. 253 BCE) was Counselor-in-chief (chengxiang 丞相) of the state of Qin 秦 during the Warring States period 戰國 (5th cent-221 BCE). Lü Buwei was originally a merchant from Yangdi 陽翟 who had accumulated a tremendeous fortune. The Lord of Anguo 安國君 was the second son and crown prince of king Zhao(xiang) of Qin 秦昭襄王 (r. 306-251). The lord’s main wife was Lady Huayang 華陽夫人. His younger son was Chu 楚, who stayed as a hostage at the court of the state of Zhao 趙, in the capital Handan 邯鄲. In this place he came in contact with Lü Buwei who was not only rich but also a very skilled intriguer. Chu was only the middle son of the heir apparent, but because Lady Huayang had no son of her own, a better relationship with her would improve Chu’s position. Lü Buwei managed to buy the hostage free, and Chu returned to Qin. He immediately established contact with the Lady, offering her a gift of precious jewels, again financed by Lü Buwei. The Lady’s intercession made Chu heir of Lord Anguo. When King Zhaoxiang died Lord Anguo ascended to the throne, as King Xiaowen 秦孝文王 (r. 251-250 CE). He died after less than one year of regency, and Chu eventually became King Zhuangxiang of Qin 秦莊襄王 (r. 250-247). Lü Buwei was made counselor-in-chief (chengxiang 丞相) and enfeoffed as Lord Wenxin 文信君, disposing of the income of 100，000 households of Luoyang 洛陽, according to other sources the income of 12 districts (xian 縣).
Lü Buwei had a large contingent of retainers from all regions of China. A lot of them were philosophers or experts in universal science. He had his retainers compiled a compendium on the seasons and the cosm which is known as Lüshi chunqiu 呂氏春秋.
King Zhuangxiang died soon and was succeeded by his underage son Zheng 政, the future First Emperor of Qin 秦始皇 (r. 246/221-210). Regency was put into the hands of “father” (zhongfu 仲父) Lü Buwei and the Queen Dowager, mother of the young king. The mother had been introduced to Prince Chu (King Zhuangxiang) by Lü Buwei when she was still Lü’s concubine. Some historians, like Sima Qian 司馬遷 in his universal history Shiji 史記 later said that king Zheng was in fact Lü Buwei’s son. During the regency of the Queen Dowager Lü Buwei is said to have continued his sexual relationship with her. She also had a lover called Lao Ai 嫪毐 who had access to her, disguised as a eunuch. She is said to have had two children by him. In 238 the king was of full age and took over regency. The king immediately had Lao Ai executed after rebellion attempt and later also banished Lü Buwei to the remote region of Shu where he took poison in 235.Archeologists have unearthed a dozen of swords, halberds and bronze weights from the Qin period which bear Lü Buwei’s name in their inscriptions. Lü is designated as “Counselor-in-chief of the state” xiangbang 相邦 (a term later changed into xiangguo 相國 in order to avoid the personal name of emperor Han Gaozu 漢高祖, Liu Bang 劉邦, r. 206-195).
Lord Changping (Shoheikun)
Ancestral Name : Mǐ 羋
Clan Name : Xióng 熊
Personal Name : Qi 启
Lord Changping (昌平君; died 223 BC) was a general and lord of Qin, but later seceded from Qin and died as the last king of Chu (224–223 BC) in the last days Warring States period of ancient China. His personal name was uknown. He was the son of King Kaolie of Chu. After Lu Buwei ousted from government, he served as Chancellor of Qin.
Meng Wu (Moubu)
Meng Wu was a Qin general. Son of Meng Ao (another Qin general) and father of Meng Tian and Meng Yi. His family originated from Kingdom of Qi. He is the vice commander of Qin army under Wang Jian during campaign against Chu. He credited for capturing the last king of Chu, Fuchu in 223 BC. The following year, Wang Jian and Meng Wu led the Qin army to attack the Wuyue region inhabited by the Baiyue, and captured the descendants of the royal family of Yue. The conquered Wuyue territories became the Kuaiji commandery of the Qin Empire.
Li Si (Ri Shi)
Li Si 李斯 (d. 208 BCE) was a high minister at the court of the king resp. emperor of Qin 秦. He was born in the state of Chu 楚, one of the mightiest opponents of the raising state of Qin during the Warring States period 戰國 (5th cent.-221 BCE). Li Si was a disciple of the Confucian scholar Xunzi 荀子 with whom he studied the art of rulership. Moving to the state of Qin he became a retainer of chancellor Lü Buwei 呂不韋. Lü helped him obtaining the position of a court gentleman (lang 郎) through which he gained access to king Zheng 政 (r. 246-210), the future First Emperor of Qin 秦始皇 (r. 246/221-210 BCE). Li Si persuaded the king to envisage the conquest of the other feudal states to create a unified empire, as it has been the case in ancient times. In 237 the king of Qin ordered to expell all foreign advisors (a famous memorial called Shang shu jian zhu ke 上書諫逐客) at his court. Li Si remonstranted against this decrete with the argument that the rulers of the remote western state of Qin since generations relied on foreign advisors. The king accepted Li Si’s remonstrance. He was promoted to chamberlain for law enforcement (tingwei 廷尉).
Cai Ze (Saitaku)
Cai Ze was a high minister in the state of Qin during the Warring States period (5th cent-221 BCE). He originated in Yan and wandered from court to court but was nowhere received as a political advisor. He finally heard that Fan Ju, the Counselor-in-chief of Qin, waged an unfortunate war against Zhao. Fan Ju introduced him to the king, and he was appointed chief minister for visitors (keqing 客卿). Later on he succeeded Fan Ju in the post of chief advisor. Cai Ze planned to extinguish the house of Zhou, but he was slandered by envious courtiers and thereupon remitted his official seal. He was, nevertheless, enfeoffed as Lord of Gangcheng. In this position he continued to serve the kings of Qin, for example, as chief diplomat during a mission to Yan.